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Soldier ‘collapsed an hour before’ Corporal died in hike

An inquest is under way after Cpl Joshua Hoole died during an eight-mile hike in Wales 2016.

Cpl Joshua Hoole collapsed on annual fitness test Facebook

An inquest into the death of a soldier on an Army training march during a hot day heard how another infantryman collapsed with a “suspected heat injury” an hour before.

A key temperature gauge used to determine whether the exercise should have continued at all was also “erroneously” placed in the shade of a building in Brecon, Wales and gave incorrectly low readings.

Corporal Joshua Hoole, of Ecclefechan, Dumfries and Galloway, collapsed during an annual fitness test (AFT) on July 19, 2016.

He died three years after three Army reservists suffered fatal heat illness during an SAS selection march in the Brecon Beacons.

The 26-year-old, of 1 Rifles, had been 400m from the end of the eight-mile (13km) cross-country course, carrying 25kg (55lb) when he collapsed.

He rapidly fell back through the pack, complaining of “cramps”, before collapsing at 8.52am and was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

In total, 18 out of 41 soldiers marching dropped out, collapsed or were withdrawn by the course directing staff on the day, including Cpl Hoole.

Col Christopher Wright, a military doctor in emergency medicine, said heat illness could produce “a spectrum” of different symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

On Friday, senior coroner Louise Hunt asked Col Wright about the collapse of Lance Corporal George Knight who blacked out and fell into a hedge about an hour before Cpl Hoole went down.

Col Wright replied: “I had come to the conclusion that it should have been treated as a suspected heat injury.”

The Brecon Beacons where Army exercise was held Geograph

The inquest has already heard that training march continued and more soldiers continued to drop out or be withdrawn.

Asked what should happen if a potential heat injury had been identified, he said: “the exercise has to stop”.

“The patient should proceed to further care and triage to the medical centre and if necessary, hospital.”

“That decision is for whoever is the medical lead.”

Professor George Havenith, said Cpl Hoole’s “body temperature would have been rising substantially”.

Asked if Cpl Hoole would be alive if the exercise had never been run or been stopped at 8.28am, he replied: “Yes.

“Because the time between that happening and Cpl Hoole’s breakdown at 8.52am is so long, to the high cardio-vascular workload being reached, that therefore I don’t think there would have been a trigger (for his collapse).”

The inquest continues.


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